Bob­cats set to kick off Dun­leavy Era against Big Green

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - SPORTS - By David Borges

HAMDEN — Two sea­sons ago, Baker Dun­leavy ex­pe­ri­enced the ul­ti­mate as a col­lege bas­ket­ball coach, win­ning a na­tional cham­pi­onship at Vil­lanova along­side Jay Wright as as­so­ci­ate head coach.

As Dun­leavy em­barks on his first foray as a head coach this sea­son at Quin­nip­iac, his goals aren’t quite as lofty.

Dun­leavy in­her­its a team that lost per­haps its two best play­ers to trans­fer af­ter Tom Moore was fired last March fol­low­ing a 10-21 sea­son. In the MAAC pre­sea­son coaches’ poll re­leased a few weeks ago, the Bob­cats were picked to fin­ish dead-last in the 11-team league.

But that doesn’t stop the up­beat Dun­leavy, 34, from be­ing op­ti­mistic — if re­al­is­tic — about his team, which kicks off its sea­son on Satur­day against Dart­mouth (2 p.m., ESPN3) at the TD Bank Sports Cen­ter.

“There are a lot of un­knowns to us, and a lot of good teams in this league,” he said. “It’s not like we take of­fense. But that can’t be why we want to play hard and prove our­selves. Mo­ti­va­tion has to be in­ter­nal, or it won’t last. There’s a nat­u­ral chip on your shoul­der when you’re picked low to do bet­ter, but it’s very tem­po­rary fuel.”

Quin­nip­iac lost five of its top six scor­ers last sea­son, in­clud­ing its top two. Mikey Dixon and Peter Kiss have trans­ferred to St. John’s and Rut­gers, re­spec­tively. Reg­gie Oliver is now at Salem In­ter­na­tional. Dono­van Smith and Daniel Har­ris have grad­u­ated.

The top re­turnee is se­nior Chaise Daniels, the Hill­house High prod­uct who briefly con­tem­plated trans­fer­ring last

Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia file photo Quin­nip­iac men’s bas­ket­ball coach Baker Dun­leavy.

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